Commissioners Approve Resolution to Fund Warren Worx

May 9, 2024

WARREN, Pa. – The Warren County Commissioners formally approved a resolution to provide $100,000 to Warren Worx during their regular meeting on Wednesday.

The resolution states that the county will provide $100,000 over 12 months through monthly payments of $8,333.33, based on a “few key elements” being met. Two of those elements are hiring a marketing director and initiating a branding initiative. The money will come from land sale funds, according to the resolution.

“Currently, the option of Warren Worx is on the table,” Commissioner Ken Klakamp said in a statement (Klakamp attended Wednesday’s meeting remotely). “Is it the best option? No one knows, but we have to do something to draw people and industry into Warren County. If we sit back and do nothing then shame on us.”

Klakamp said a key component of agreeing to fund Warren Worx is the creation of the Executive Board. The Executive Board will consist of two commissioners, the Warren Mayor and City Manager, two Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry members, the Council of Governments president, the Warren County Visitors Bureau Executive Director, and one at-large stakeholder.

“When the Commissioners were approached and there was discussion it was clear that we were not going to give $100,000 and see what happens and let the money be spent without controls in place,” Klakamp said. “There needs to be clear goals and objectives set and obtained. The County Commissioners have the option to cease funding if the goals and objectives are not met.”

Klakamp pointed to the declining population/tax base, successful tax appeals, and loss of acreage to state game lands as primary reasons why a program like Warren Worx is necessary.

“Since 2017 through 2022 there have been 17 successful tax appeals that were won by the plaintiff due to an outdated property tax assessment,” Klakamp said. “The successful tax appeals resulted in lost property values of $7,968,599. Any timber sales or OGM leased monies generated on State Game Lands are not shared with the county, school district, or municipal government bodies.

In a recent news article, the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Game Commission made the statement that, ‘We (Game Commission) are going to buy up as much land as we can.’ I guess he does not understand the pressure that is being put on local government and mainly the taxpayer to foot the bill. Because of the above-listed items, the county taxpayers are made to pick up the burden. This cannot continue to happen.”

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